Award season is officially in full swing with the Hollywood Foreign Press revealing the nominations for the 2020 Golden Globes, the 77th edition of the show, this morning. Every year the Globes sets the tone for the annual two-month nationally televised celebration of the biggest movies in Hollywood’s calendar year. Going into this award season we knew several films would stand out from the crowd but the 2020 nominees also come with the fair share of surprises as well. So, as I do every year, it’s time to break down the nominations for the 77th annual Golden Globes. Be aware that this blog is a MOVIE blog so I will only be examining the FILM categories for the Globes. Also, these are NOT my predictions for the show as I will be making my picks in the lead up to the ceremony’s January 5th air date. Let’s get started.
I would like to hear your reactions to this mornings announcements so please let me know in the comments your thoughts about this year’s nominees. Are there any you thought were snubbed or any you felt were unrightfully included? I’d like to know and look out for my predictions after the new year.
THE NETFLIX TAKEOVER
One of the biggest winners from the 2020 nominations is Netflix which earned a lifetime best 17 nominations for 2020. The streaming giant has put a lot of stock in original content over the past few years and has begun to solidify itself as a legitimate, albeit controversial contender for the biggest awards of the season. In 2020 the streaming service has its best chance of walking away with trophies with FOUR movies represented in the two Best Picture Categories. For Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy “Dolomite Is My Name” scored a nomination while three of the five nominees for Best Motion Picture – Drama, “The Two Popes”, “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story”, are all Netflix originals. To top it off “Marriage Story” has the most individual nominations in the entire show with six while “The Irishman” sits tied for second with five. Now I’ve personally only seen and reviewed half of those movies but I will be reviewing “Dolomite” and “The Two Popes” this month to see how well they stand out. The fact of the matter here though is that despite the controversy from directors about whether or not Netflix movies can or should be considered real contenders the streaming service is, in fact, providing some of the best films year in and year out.
Netflix also scored a nomination for Best Director for Martin Scorsese with “The Irishman”, an award Alfonzo Cuarón won last year for a Netflix original “Roma”, and is represented three times for Best Screenplay – Motion Picture for “The Irishman”, “Marriage Story” and “The Two Popes”. “Marriage Story” earned Netflix another nomination for Best Original Score. The service’s nominees are also represented in the acting categories. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver both earned leading role nominations for their excellent work in “Marriage Story” while Jonathan Pryce earned a lead actor nomination for “The Two Popes” and Eddie Murphy earned a nod for his performance in “Dolemite Is My Name”. Laura Dern earned a supporting actress nomination for “Marriage Story” and three of the five nominations for supporting actor belong to Netflix movies, Anthony Hopkins in “The Two Popes” and Al Pacino and Joe Pesci from “The Irishman”. It’s hard to see Netflix not having a breakout year for award season success.
A MIX OF ART AND ENTERTAINMENT
One of the coolest things I noticed about this year’s Globe nominees is that most of the films nominated have already been released. The only movie in either Best Picture category that has yet to hit theaters is “1917” which fills a pretty standard must-have for award season as the representative war flick that always seems to be a contender each year. Other than that, every movie represented in the two Best Motion Picture categories has hit theaters or Netflix and several including “Joker”, “Rocket Man”, “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” and “Knives Out” were major wide releases. These categories usually feature a mix of films more geared towards the art than the entertainment of the masses resulting in a slew of films that people haven’t even seen or that the masses might be less interested in experiencing. The only niche market film on the list seems to be “Jojo Rabbit” which is represented in the Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy section and itself is still much more mainstream than you’d normally expect. Otherwise with the exception of the yet to be release “1917”, which will be released over the Christmas holiday supposedly in a wide range of theaters, this is a rare year where pretty much every movie up for the top honors has been available for viewing well ahead of the nominations giving theatergoers a good chance to truly understand the competition.
SUPER COMPETITIVE ACTING AWARDS
Looking at the lineup for the best lead and supporting roles in films the 2020 Globes brings with it some of the most competitive fields in the show’s recent history. While there are some clear snubs (more on that later) almost none of the honorees feel out of place even if we have yet to see WHY they should be on the list. Starting with the women: for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama you have Cynthia Erivo who was one of the best parts of the otherwise just okay “Harriet”, Scarlett Johansson who was superb in “The Marriage Story”, Saoirse Ronan in the yet to be wide released “Little Woman” who is always a solid contender, Charlize Theron for the yet to be released “Bombshell” who has already impressed in the trailers alone, and Renee Zellweger who turned in a career redefining performance in “Judy”. For Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy we find Cate Blanchett who was the only thing really memorable about “Where’d You Go Bernadette?”, Ana de Armas who was a shining standout in “Knives Out”, Emma Thompson who was a centerpiece of the underappreciated “Late Night”, Beanie Feldstein who co-starred in the equally underappreciated “Booksmart”, and Awkwafina who right away is my personal favorite in the category for a sincere performance in “The Farewell”. While we have yet to see a few of these performances most look like solid picks for the awards and it’s hard to really pick out any true shoe-ins which is a testament to how great 2019 was for women in film.
Lead actor is equally competitive. For Best Actor – Drama we have Adam Driver who was incredible in “Marriage Story”, Jonathan Pryce for “The Two Popes”, Christian Bale for “Ford v Ferrari”, Antonio Banderas for the Spanish language standout film “Pain and Glory” and probably THE most talked about performance of 2019 Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker”. A lot of people see Phoenix as the likely winner here but there’s some legitimate competition that could stand in his way, especially from Driver and Bale. The awards for Best Actor – Music or Comedy could be much more interesting with Daniel Craig in it for “Knives Out”, Roman Griffin Davis earning a deserved nod for “Jojo Rabbit”, Leonardo DiCaprio once again in the mix for one of his best career performances in “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”, Taron Egerton for his own career best performance in “Rocketman” and Eddie Murphy with a career reviving performance in “Dolemite Is My Name”. Expect this to me one of the night’s most interesting awards as it will likely set the stage for who could be Phoenix’s biggest competition going into the Oscars if Phoenix can earn the Globe himself.
The drama continues with the supporting role performances especially with the women which is a mixed bag of nominees we have and haven’t had a chance to experience yet. Kathy Bates earns a nod for “Richard Jewell” although we won’t get to see why she earned the honor until the film hits theaters this weekend. Annette Bening is represented for the Amazon film “The Report”, Laura Dern is in it for “Marriage Story”, Jennifer Lopez is the easy early favorite for “Hustlers” and Margot Robbie is in the mix for the yet-to-be-released “Bombshell”. This is a very hard category to predict but a lot of people see Lopez as the leading contender and have since “Hustlers” was released. The men however provide the much more unpredictable mix. Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”), Al Pacino and Joe Pesci (both for “The Irishman”) and Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”) make up a great mix of deserving candidates for the award and I wouldn’t be surprised to see all five of these men represented at the Oscars as well.
Overall, I think the acting categories are going to be fun to sit through this year. There are a lot of great performance by some big names, several seeking their first Globes and career defining wins.
DISNEY DOMINATED ANIMATED NOMINEES
Best Animated Feature Film is always a fun category to watch because it usually always comes down to Pixar and Disney or whatever studio had a breakout year. However, Disney looks to have the 2019 honor in the bag. Five films are represented with only Laika’s “The Missing Link” and DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” serving as non-Disney options. “Frozen 2”, Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” and the “live-action”, aka CGI animated, “The Lion King” remake are all in contention. While “The Lion King” wouldn’t be anyone’s favorite choice to win it would be the first remake to earn the award if it were to walk away with the trophy. However, it’s likely that “Frozen 2” or “Toy Story 4”, which were both much better received by critics, will win the honor and become the third sequel movie to score the victory. But Disney has lost out before with good competition. “How To Train Your Dragon 2” beat out “Big Hero 6” in 2014 and Sony earned the honor last year with “Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse” despite Disney having two well received sequels, “Incredibles 2” and “Ralph Breaks in the Internet”, in the fray so I wouldn’t count this as a cut and dry category just yet.
CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED FOREIGN FILM LINEUP
This year’s Best Foreign-Language Films nominees is probably among the most critically respected and competitive in recent memory with almost every movie appearing on numerous year’s best lists. “The Farewell”, which is mostly Chinese, is the one most people are probably familiar with but films like “Parasite” and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” are being hailed as among the greatest of the decade. “Pain and Glory” has become one of the most highly respected Spanish movies of recent times while “Les Misérables”, which is NOT a retelling of the famous play but rather a French film about the riots of 2005 in Paris, has quickly earned its share of fans. This will be a fun category to watch simply because of the strength of the competition, even if people like me don’t give foreign films as much respect as they so truly deserve.
Of course, with every award season comes the fair share of snubs and the 2020 Globes has some big ones. First off is the egregious lack of women in the Best Director category. Now before people start harping on me, let me explain that the nominees are all very deserving or appear to be at least. Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”), Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”), and Todd Phillips (“The Joker”) were always going to be in this category and it’s unfair to say that Bon Joon Ho, whose movie “Parasite” is being hailed as a game changer, and Sam Mendes, whose film “1917” has yet to even come out yet, are undeserving. But there are several women who should have earned a spot on this list. Greta Gerwig for “Little Women”, Lorena Scafaria who directed “Hustlers”, Olivia Wilde who led “Booksmart” and Lulu Wang who directed “The Farewell” have all been hailed this year as deserving nominees for the directing honor and yet none were represented. The Globes also have a notable reputation for ignoring women in the director’s chair. You look back at this past ten years alone, a decade where the #MeToo movement and modern feminism reigned supreme, and only TWO women Ava DuVernay and Kathryn Bigelow, have earned nominations. Now the Oscars aren’t a whole lot better but it’s worth noting that Bigelow lost the Globe back in 2009 to her ex-husband James Cameron before winning the Oscar a month later. On the flip side Barbara Streisand is the only woman to ever win the Globe for Best Director and did so 25 years before the Academy awarded a woman so that’s worth noting. Regardless, those irritated with the lack of females in this category are right in their anger in my opinion.
Another big snub was Robert De Niro. The outspoken actor had two very respectable performances in 2019 in “Joker” and “The Irishman” and yet he was left out of both the Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor categories despite his co-stars in both films earning nods. De Niro, an eight-time nominee and one-time winner in the film categories at the Globes, feels like the biggest single acting snub on the entire list. Some have said his mocking comments towards the Hollywood Foreign Press in 2011 are to blame but De Niro earned a nomination in 2018 for acting on television with “The Wizard of Lies” so it’s hard to tell why he was left out this time around. He’s not the only acting snub though. Adam Sandler looked to seek career redemption with the upcoming highly touted “Uncut Gems” but it doesn’t look like his bid for a Globe paid off as he too was left out. Matt Damon is also notably absent despite earning just as much respect from critics as his co-star Christian Bale in “Ford v Ferrari”.
Probably the most interesting snub for me was “Cats”. A stage musical adapted to the big screen is always a possible shoe-in for award consideration, but apparently not this time. “Cats” was not only left out of every acting category but also the Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy lineup and it only received a single nomination for its original song “Beautiful Ghosts”. It seems pretty rare that a film like “Cats” isn’t included more for the sake of sheer pandering but considering the competition that displaced it I can’t say I disagree.
COMPLETE LIST OF 2020 GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINEES FOR FILMS
Best Motion Picture – Drama
“The Two Popes”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”
Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
Renee Zellweger, “Judy”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Christian Bale, “Ford v. Ferrari”
Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
“Dolemite Is My Name”
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Ana de Armas, “Knives Out”
Awkwafina, “The Farewell”
Cate Blanchett, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”
Beanie Feldstein, “Booksmart”
Emma Thompson, “Late Night”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Daniel Craig, “Knives Out”
Roman Griffin Davis, “Jojo Rabbit”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
Taron Egerton, “Rocketman”
Eddie Murphy, “Dolemite Is My Name”
Best Director – Motion Picture
Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite”
Sam Mendes, “1917”
Todd Phillips, “Joker”
Martin Scorsese, ‘The Irishman”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”
Annette Bening, “The Report”
Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
Jennifer Lopez, “Hustlers”
Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”
Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story”
Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won, “Parasite”
Anthony McCarten, “The Two Popes”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood”
Steven Zaillian, “The Irishman”
Best Motion Picture – Animated
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
“The Lion King”
“Toy Story 4”
Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
“Pain and Glory”
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”
Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“Beautiful Ghosts” – Cats
“I’m Gonna Love Me Again” – Rocketman
“Into the Unknown” – Frozen 2
“Spirit” – The Lion King
“Stand Up” – Harriet